Crowdfunding has grown incredibly popular over the last few years. What started with KickStarter trying to help entrepreneurs find an early supporting audience for their product developments has exploded into dozens of different platforms, tons of potential applications, and an international community of willing contributors. Businesses and organizations can take advantage of crowdfunding too, but if they want to be successful, they need some kind of onsite integration to convert their primary audience and to increase overall visibility for their campaigns.
Why Consider Crowdfunding?
There are several reasons why a business or organization might consider crowdfunding. For example:
- You could be funding the development of a new product, or some massive undertaking that requires startup capital, like Indiegogo.
- You could be an independent writer or organization seeking greater financial support from your ongoing readership, like Jukepop.
- You could be seeking donations or gifts, like Plumfund, to keep your organization running.
There’s no right or wrong motivation for crowdfunding, so almost any business could feasibly have an interest here.
Crowdfunding Plugins and Themes
First, you’ll need to choose the right theme. There are many themes that have been created specifically for crowdfunding, including Backer and Mission. You can choose one specific to crowdfunding or specific to your niche or industry, but as long as your theme supports the easy integration of new designs and features, you shouldn’t have too many problems.
From there, you’ll need a reliable plugin. These are just two of the most popular contenders around today:
- IgnitionDeck. IgnitionDeck is a free plugin with a paid premium option, but the free version will be suitable for the majority of basic crowdfunding campaigns. It works with practically any theme and has a variety of customizable design options.
- WordPress Fundraising. Straight from the source, WordPress Fundraising a paid $19 per month service that basically allows you to be your own crowdfunding host. You can choose to collect funds as you see fit and can gain access to development modules for a slightly higher per-month cost.
Tips and Considerations
Once you’ve chosen your theme and plugin, you’ll have to put your campaign to work. Follow these tips to ensure the greatest chance for success:
- Know (and show) your goals. Don’t go in blindly, requesting a general amount of money for some unspoken purpose. People will become suspicious of this, and even if you do raise money, you won’t know what to do with it. The first step is to set specific, achievable goals, and find a solid way to present those goals to your audience. For starters, how much do you really need? By when do you need it? What are you going to do with it? These are important questions to address to your audience.
- Include lots of social opportunities. There are tons of social profile integrations at your disposal, so use them! Social media is your most powerful channel for crowdfunding development. Ask your users to share the fact that they’ve donated to your campaign, and their friends will be likely to contribute as well. Give users a chance to engage with your brand before and after, and make yourself available for any questions that they might have about the campaign. Transparency and social validation lead to trust, so include social media integrations everywhere.
- Tell a story. When people see an opportunity to donate, they only think about the money. You have to tell them a story if you want them to have a sense of your ideals and vision. What is that story? That depends on your goals and your brand. You might tell the story of how you develop your product and change the world. You might zoom in and focus on the story of an individual whose life was changed by your organization. As long as it’s in a narrative structure, your audience will respond.
- Illustrate the value. People are going to give you some amount of money, so you’d better have a good reason for needing it. Illustrate the value that people will get from their donation – whether by showing off the free gift that they’ll receive in exchange or showcasing the statistics of how your organization will improve the local community once you’re able to raise the money. Be as logical and calculating as possible here; people need to know the value that they’re getting.
- Don’t stop at the plugin. The plugin will help you to carry and to manage your campaign onsite, but don’t let that be your only point of request; make your campaign visible everywhere! Push it out on social media, include it in your newsletters, mention it in your traditional advertising, and talk about it in your local circles. The wider you cast your net, the more donations you’re liable to receive.
Crowdfunding is a viable and efficient way to secure more capital for your research, development, or even your ongoing work and existence, but only if you know how to implement it properly. There is a ton of crowdfunding competition out there, so you’ll have to stand out with the proper integrations and the right strategies to captivate your target audience.